SIM Swapping is a new crime scheme where the attacker gets the phone line of an affected person. He/She gets it from the carrier and then uses it to take advantage of the information that he can get by using the phone. This kind of attack is lethal for cryptocurrency related people. Learn why and what can you make to avoid it.
What Is SIM Swapping?
The SIM Card is the little plastic and metal chip that we put on our cell phones. This is necessary to be able to make phone calls and access the internet. This little sheet of plastic has all of our information to access the carrier network, associating our phones with a myriad of services online: bank accounts, dating services, social network, job recruiting services, etc.
Sim Swapping is a technique that lets an attacker take control of this information by convincing people of the phone company that they are really you. Attackers do that in different ways but the most common is social engineering. By following you on social networks, attackers can get ahold of information to trick employees of the carrier that they are you.
It seems surreal, but it is done daily. Carriers have distinct approaches to replace a line on a new SIM card, but some only request a photo and the four numbers of an SSN. These two things can be very easy to find depending on your online behavior.
Why Is It So Dangerous?
As our phones became more than just phones, exchanges are more and more focused on security than ever. These exchanges use a verification technique called 2-factor authentication (or just 2FA). this means that to get into their platforms, you must get a code at the time and input it along with the password. That is where SIM Swapping comes into the equation.
By robbing people of their sim cards, they can obtain this code that usually arrives via SMS to reset accounts. With this code, users can get into exchanges, and siphon all cryptocurrencies from your accounts. This has already happened. There are important cases of this scheme used to hack exchanges accounts and withdraw millions from the cryptocurrency accounts.
US cryptocurrency investor Michale Tepin is suing AT&T due to a cryptocurrency heist pulled by a SIM swap made to him. This is a $223.8 million dollars case against AT&T. The complaint stated that “what AT&T did was like a hotel giving a thief with a fake ID a room key and a key to the room safe to steal jewelry in the safe from the rightful owner.”
How To Prevent SIM Swapping?
Preventing SIM swapping is not a trivial matter. Even if you follow all recommendations it is still possible to get the sim card with insider help. However, the best precaution is to be very secretive about your personal data, in person and also in digital platforms. Attackers are lurking everywhere looking for details about your life to use them against you.
Also, if you are a trader, try alternative services to 2FA SMS. Some exchanges offer alternative platforms for 2FA like Authy and Google Auth. This can contribute to minimize the effect of a SIM swapping attack.